Mubadala and IBM in venture to bring ‘Watson’ cognitive computing to Mena region

Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi investment fund, yesterday signed an agreement with New York-based IBM to introduce the cloud-based cognitive computing technology known as IBM Watson to the Middle East and North Africa region.

The two companies will work together to bring the Watson service that collates and interprets data from many sources to health care, retail, education, banking and finance firms.

The joint venture will also gather partners, entrepreneurs, start-ups and app developers to apply Watson in the Mena region.

Mubadala’s information technology services subsidiary Injazat will be the exclusive provider of Watson technology in the region.

“This new joint venture with IBM will put both the UAE and broader Mena region on the leading edge for adoption of this breakthrough technology,” said Homaid Al Shemmari, the chief executive of aerospace and engineering services at Mubadala. “We are confident that together we can continue to accelerate the region’s knowledge-based economy by empowering businesses to capitalise on new opportunities with this world-class technology.”

The information and communication technology market in the Middle East and Africa is forecast to worth more than $270 billion this year as the IT market grows 9 per cent year on year, according to the data provider International Data Corporation (IDC).

The Middle East and Africa region is the second-fastest growing market globally, according to IDC.

Mubadala’s new venture with IBM is part of its mandate to help build an information and technology centre sector in Abu Dhabi and diversify the emirate’s economy from energy income.

“This collaboration is another important demonstration of IBM’s commitment to bringing Watson to all corners of the world, and accelerating adoption of cognitive computing as the new technology standard for innovation,” said Mike Rhodin, the senior vice president at IBM Watson. “Mubadala’s strong relationships throughout the Mena region will enable local organisations and entrepreneurs access to Watson to transform their work.”


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